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ninth day they get a preparation of rice and milk, boiled together, and called khere.
The temple of Abas Alaam is crowded with suppliants during the first ten days of the Mohurrim. He is supposed to be beneficent to all who worship in sincerity and purity. He grants cures of diseases, children, and release from trouble and sorrow. If any particular object be prayed for, such as a child, a figure of it is offered. The figure first offered is of little or no value, but if the gift is granted, then a figure of silver is given. These offerings are made during the Mohurrim, and after it is over the priests take what they require for themselves, and dispose of the rest for the benefit of the
poor. I know of many who got children by prayers to Abas Alaam. The queen's daughter, whose marriage was not a happy one, had been married some years without children. She made a votive offering of a boy in silver, and before next Mohurrim she had a son. No, he is not alive now. He died eighteen months after. She is childless now. Such is fate.
The last Mohurrim, before the English rule, was in 1855, and everyone that was there must remember how many signs there were of coming misfortune. The horse of Huzrut Aly, called Dhool-dhool, which comes in apparently stuck with arrows, when introduced into the baradhurry to go seven times round the tazias, destroyed the carpet. This was one omen. Again, two of the chandeliers in the palace fell, with a great crash, on the ninth day, and all of us said to ourselves and to each other, 'What does this portend?' Was not that another bad omen ? And one of the tazias took fire, and was burned up. Was not that another bad omen? Last of all, a great comet appeared in the sky, the point of which was turned towards Oudh, and the tail towards Mecca, and the wise knew that it was for the rising and falling of kingdoms.
It was the custom of the king, Wajid Aly, to have two figures made during the Mohurrim—one of Yahudy, and one of Syud Salár and he had the faces of the figures blackened, and a chain of old shoes hung round
their necks in contempt, and two mehters, or sweepers (men of the lowest caste), stood on each side with their sweeping brooms in their hands instead of the usual handsome attendants with chowries to brush away the flies. And the king shot at these figures with arrows, and struck them with a sword, and exposed them to every indignity, decent and indecent, and his companions did the same when the king was tired; and last of all the two figures were burnt with fire, and their ashes were scattered to the winds of heaven. It was thus that the king displayed his zeal for the faith; but God was not pleased with him, or surely he would never have lost his kingdom. So said the queen my mistress often, and she was wise.
It was some time, perhaps three or four years, before the English annexation, when the queen had been annoyed and inconvenienced by exhibitions of pride and want of attention on the part of some of her chief attendants, that she called her female household together, and related to them the story of Huzrut Fatima. I heard it several times afterwards, and it is all fixed in my memory, so that I can tell it nearly word for word:—
Lady Fatima was wife of Huzrut Aly, and mother of Hassain and Hoossen; and whilst she and her husband lived happily and in great splendour together, a poor grass-cutter and his wife lived at no great distance from their palace. Now, the Lady Fatima was proud, and did not wait upon and tend her
husband with all that assiduity that a wife ought this was her only fault.
One day Huzrut Aly said to her, 'Beebee Fatima, that poor grass-cutter's wife will enter heaven before you.'' Before me?' said the Lady Fatima haughtily. How can that be, when I am the wife of a prophet?' And the saint answered, 'Nevertheless, what I say is true; for she will hold the bridle of the camel on which you enter Paradise, and set her foot in it before you.'
that be so?' asked the lady.
And why should
See her, and judge for yourself,' was the saint's answer. So the next morning the Lady Fatima went herself to the grass-cutter's cottage, and knocked at the door. Who's there?' asked the grass-cutter's wife from within. It is I, Huzrut Beebee Fatima,' was the lady's answer. 'And what is it you require, lady?' asked the poor woman, still from within. 'I want to enter and see you and your cottage,' said the lady. I have not enquired husband's wishes in this matter,' said the 'He is at his daily work: I cannot open the door now; when he returns